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The latest estimate of Scotland's population (on 30 June 2013) is 5,327,700 - the highest ever and an increase of 14,100 people on the previous year.
The current increase in Scotland's population has been driven mostly by net in-migration although there have also been more births than deaths. In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, in-migration exceeded out-migration by approximately 10,000. This included a net gain of around 7,900 from the rest of the UK and a net gain of around 2,100 from overseas. Other changes, such as changes in the numbers of armed forces and prisoners, resulted in a net gain of around 3,200. In the same period, there were approximately 900 more births than deaths (approximately 56,800 births and 55,900 deaths), continuing the recent trend in positive natural change which began in 2007.
Population estimates for mid-2011 to mid-2013 have been created from rolling forward the 2011 Census. The population estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010 were revised to include information from the 2011 Census in December 2013.
The increase in Scotland's population in the last decade, and projected changes over the next two decades, should be seen in the context of the relative stability of the population over the last 50 years, as shown in Figure 1.1. The population increased to 5.24 million in 1974 before decreasing to 5.06 million in 2000 and then increasing again over the last 13 years achieving the highest estimate so far, 5.33 million, in 2013.
Figure 1.2 shows the trends in natural change (births minus deaths) and migration. Between 1963 and 1975, both natural change and net out-migration fell dramatically, although the natural increase generally remained greater than net out-migration. This resulted in a growth in population up to 1974. From that point on, through the late 1970s and the 1980s, up until 1989, net out-migration was higher than the natural increase, causing the population to decline. In recent years the trend in natural change has reversed and Scotland has also experienced record levels of net in-migration resulting in small increases in the population over each of the last 13 years. For the second consecutive year, 2013 saw a fall in gains from natural change and net in-migration, although the population still increased because of both components. Natural change decreased as there were fewer births and more deaths than in the previous year. The fall in net inmigration was driven by falling in-migration from overseas.
Composition by age and sex is one of the most important aspects of the population, as changes in the number of males and females in different age groups will have different social and economic impacts. For example, increases in the elderly population are likely to place a greater demand on health and social services.
Figure 1.3 shows the age structure of the population in 2013. Seventeen per cent of the population were aged under 16; 65 per cent were aged 16 to 64 and 18 per cent were aged 65 and over. Amongst older people, particularly those aged over 75, the higher number of females reflects the longer expectation of life for females, partly as a result of male mortality rates during the Second World War. The sharp peak at age 66, and the bigger bulge between the ages of around 40 and 50, are the result of the two baby booms of 1947 and the 1960s. The smaller bulge between 20 and 30, which is sometimes referred to as the echo effect, is the children of the baby boomers.
The changing age structure of Scotland's population over the ten years mid-2003 to mid-2013 is illustrated in Figure 1.4. During this period the population increased by 259,200 (+5.1 per cent), from 5.07 million to 5.33 million. The ageing of the population is evident from the decrease in population aged under 16 (-4 per cent) and the increase of those aged 45-59 (+14 per cent), those aged 60-74 (+17 per cent) and those aged over 75 (+16 per cent).
Figure 1.5 shows the percentage change in population between 2012 and 2013 for each council area.
The council area with the greatest decrease in population was North Ayrshire where the population declined by 640 (-0.5 per cent). Moray (+1.5 per cent) and Argyll & Bute (+1.3 per cent) saw the greatest percentage increases; most of the increase was due to changes in armed forces personnel. The largest increase in absolute numbers was in the City of Edinburgh (+4,860).
The relative importance of migration and natural change differs between areas. In some areas of population increase, such as the City of Edinburgh, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, the gain is attributable both to migration and to natural increase. Falkirk and Fife experienced a population increase because of in-migration combined with a very low natural change. In other areas, the population increase is due to in-migration, despite the number of deaths exceeding the number of births. These areas included East Renfrewshire and Stirling.
Similarly, some areas of population decline, such as West Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire and Inverclyde have experienced population decreases from natural change, migration and other changes. In other areas such as Eilean Siar and Dumfries & Galloway the population decline was mainly attributable to more deaths than births. This analysis is shown in Table 1.1, which compares percentage change in population due to natural change and migration across the Council areas.
|Council Areas2||Natural Change1||Net Civilian Migration and Other Changes1||Percentage Population Change|
|Argyll & Bute||-0.4||1.7||1.3|
|Edinburgh, City of||0.3||0.8||1|
|Perth & Kinross||-0.2||0.2||0.0|
|Dumfries & Galloway||-0.4||0.0||-0.4|
The latest projections of Scotland's future population were published in November 2013 and are based on the estimate of Scotland's population in June 2012, which is itself based on results from the 2011 Census results.
The projections, based on existing trends of migration and natural change and making no allowance for the future impact of government policies and other factors, such as the upcoming referendum on Scottish Independence, show the total population of Scotland rising from 5.31 million in 2012 to 5.78 million in 2037 (Figure 1.1).
As demographic behaviour is uncertain, a number of variant projections of the future population have been calculated, based on alternative assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration, in addition to the 'principal projection' on which the previous paragraphs are based. The variant projections give users an indication of this uncertainty. They illustrate plausible alternative scenarios, rather than representing upper or lower limits of future demographic behaviour. These variant projections, and the assumptions used, can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.
For the principal projection until 2032, natural change and migration both act to increase the size of the population as the number of births is projected to exceed the number of deaths and net in-migration is assumed. After that point, the number of deaths exceeds the number of births, a consequence of the ageing of the population, whilst the net migration into Scotland is assumed to continue. Figure 1.6 shows the historical and projected future trends of births and deaths in Scotland.
Between 2012 and 2037, Scotland's population is projected to age significantly. As shown in Figure 1.7, the number of children aged under 16 is projected to rise only by 5 per cent, from 0.91 million to 0.96 million, and the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to rise by 59 per cent, from 0.93 million to 1.47 million, while the number of people aged 16 to 64 is projected to decrease by 4 per cent, from 3.47 million to 3.34 million.
Another way of looking at the age structure of the population is to look at dependency ratios. Dependency ratios can be defined in different ways.
Here three are calculated:
These ratios should be interpreted with care. For example, a simple interpretation is the number of older people or children who are 'dependent' on people aged 16 to state pension age, the assumption being that most older people and children are not economically active. The reality is of course much more complex, since (to give just a few reasons) many people of typically working age are unemployed or economically inactive (e.g. at school or university), the age at which people retire varies greatly and many retired people are financially independent. However, these 'dependency' ratios provide a useful way to examine the relative age structure of the population.
Figure 1.8, which takes account of the increase in the state pension age for both males and females1, shows little change in these ratios over the next 5-10 years, but a fairly rapid increase in the pension age population relative to the working age population in subsequent years. This starts to slow down in 2035 due to changes in state pension age.
The population of most of the countries in Europe is projected to increase over the next few years. Scotland's population is projected to rise by 9 per cent between 2012 and 2037. The population of Europe2 (EU-283) is projected to increase by 1 per cent while the rest of the UK, and certain countries such as Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland, are projected to have much bigger increases. However Germany, Spain and Portugal as well as a number of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs3), are projecting a population decline as Figure 1.9 shows.
Scotland is not alone in having an ageing population. The pattern of change over the last 20 years, and the projected change in the age distribution, is similar to that of other countries in the UK and Europe, although the rate of change varies.
More detailed information about Scotland's population, including estimates, projections at national and sub-Scotland level, as well as estimates of specific population groups, can be found within the Population section of National Records of Scotland (NRS) website.
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